KTM 890 ADVENTURE (2020 - on) Review

Highlights

  • More punch over 790 Adventure
  • Extra refinement
  • Sharper on and off-road handling

At a glance

Power: 103 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Medium (432 lbs / 196 kg)

Prices

New £11,949
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The KTM 890 Adventure is the replacement for the 790 Adventure, which was only launched in 2019. The entry-level 890 will still sit in the middle of KTM’s 'Travel' range, between the A2 licence-friendly 390 Adventure and the 1290 behemoths.

It’s festooned with mechanical and electronic upgrades not only for more punch, but to make the KTM easier to manage, more refined, safer and enjoyable on the long haul.

Like the outgoing 790 the new KTM 890 Adventure is an accomplished soft-roader and offers a more real-world alternative to the big, powerful and sometimes unwieldy, full-blown adventure bike. Its pricey, but well equipped and its new engine mixes serious guts with a new level of refinement, making it easy to get on with, but it still has a tough edge.

It’s a fine handling, spritely tourer that will also breeze rocky trails, but it’s a little too heavy for anything more spirited, especially for the inexperienced. It’s slightly cramped for taller riders, but it’s comfortable and reassuringly low for shorter riders.


KTM 890 Adventure video review:

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Non-adjustable WP forks are unchanged from the 790, but the shock now has rebound damping adjustment and a remote preload dial.

The rear shock on the KTM 890 Adventure has some adjustment

An aluminium steering stem also replaces steel for lightness and extra flex. The 890 is stable, balanced and with its suspension sprung on the stiff side of plush, you can chuck it around with confidence.

New brake pads have extra bite and Avon AV53/54 Trailrider tyres give decent all-round grip. The 890 has gained 7kg (even with its new lighter subframe), which doesn’t make a huge difference on the road, but weighing well over 220kg with fuel it’s no lightweight enduro in the dirt.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

What a cracker of an engine. It’s as exciting here as it is in the new Duke 890 R, but for the 890 Adventure it delivers even bigger dollops of usable low and midrange power, not to mention a healthy top end kick, too, where it yowls like a V-twin.

Fuelling is spot on, the gearbox sweet and our test at the world launch bike is fitted with an accessory Akrapovic end can, which gives the motor more urgency and a deeper bark, but it masks the actual improvement over the 790. KTM claim 63mpg, which is a theoretical 276 miles to its 20-litre tank.

It’s out with the 790’s slightly snappy power delivery and in with a mellower response thanks to a new crank with 20% more inertia. Now the KTM’s engine has more momentum on and off the throttle and while its main aim is to make it less of a handful in the dirt, it also makes for more fluid road riding.

Riding the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure

The 890’s bored and stroked 103bhp motor not only has an extra 90cc, 9bhp and 8.8ftlb of torque, there’s a kitchen sink’s worth of upgrades including new pistons, balancers, conrods, valves, springs, oil cooler, knock sensor, clutch and gearbox mods.

With its newfound performance, fuel maps and traction control have been tweaked through the 890’s three riding modes. There’s now a six-axis gyro for more accurate cornering ABS and the system can tell an off-road wheelspin from a wheelie.

During our test the electronics always stayed in the background, but they’re reassuring to have when gravel and mud suddenly appear mid bend. In its optional 'Rally' mode the rider aids release their grip to let you slip and slide off road. The 890’s bright colour dash links to a KTM app via Bluetooth for calls, music and turn-by-turn sat nav.

KTM 890 Adventure engine

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

On the plus side you get a two-year warranty, roadside assistance and wheel hubs are now anodised instead of power coated for durability. The 890 Adventure looks very well screwed together when new with great paint finishes and there are a lot of 790 Adventure owners who’ve enjoyed trouble-free ownership…but there are those who haven’t.

There still seems to be quality control issues and plenty of reports of leaks, failures and breakdowns, all of which KTM work hard to resolve, so if you’re serious about buying make sure you go to a reputable dealer.

The TFT dash on the KTM 890 Adventure

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The 890 Adventure isn’t cheap. With its capacity hike you can now talk about it in the same breath as machines like the BMW F850GS and Triumph Tiger 900, both of which are cheaper in base trim.

Although now much more powerful the KTM still rivals the Yamaha Ténéré 700, but the Yamaha beats it hands down on price, but comfortably undercuts Honda’s Africa Twin.

The KTM 890 Adventure is available in multiple colours

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

You don’t get fully adjustable suspension, or top-line brakes and tyres but the 890 Adventure comes with just about everything else, including a colour dash with Bluetooth connectively, a twin radial caliper set-up, three rider modes, traction control and cornering ABS. 

As well as its racy Akrapovic exhaust can our test bike is fitted with selected optional extras from KTM’s accessory catalogue, including a superb quickshifter and autoblipper, Rally riding mode and cruise control (its switchgear button comes standard), but for the money you’d want them thrown in.

Riding the KTM 890 Adventure

We also rode with the flatter, slimmer optional seat, which retains the 890 Adventure’s low 830mm height, making like easier for shorter riders, but it does away with the standard seat’s 850mm option, which we’d have liked to try, as the KTM is relatively small and cramped for a six foot MCN tester.

Specs

Engine size 889cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 196kg
Front suspension WP 43mm forks, non adjustable
Rear suspension WP Single shock, adjustable for rebound damping and preload
Front brake 2 x 320mm front discs with four-piston radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 260mm disc with twin-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £11,949
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 103 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2021: KTM 890 Adventure launched. Replaces 790 Adventure  

Other versions

  • KTM 890 Adventure R – More off-road biased with longer travel, chunkier suspension.
  • KTM 890 Adventure R Rally – Limited run of 700 and comes with top spec WP off-road suspension, Akrapovic exhaust, racing seat (910mm height), up/down quickshifter, narrow wheel rims, tubed tyres, different graphics, clear screen and winglets, off-road pegs, carbon fibre tank protector.

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